CINCINNATI — Josh Brogden and his younger brother, Jayden, earned the opportunity to be a Division I sectional wrestling champion last weekend.
The only difficult part was to resolve which sibling would default to the other in the 195-pound weight class final at Lakota East.
There was plenty of debate between Josh, a Lakota West senior, and Jayden, a Moeller sophomore.
Tears were shed on the mat.
Not because each wanted the championship but, in fact, just the opposite.
"Both wanted to forfeit to each other," Lakota West coach Adam Meyer said.
The family discussed an original plan that if the scenario occurred in the tournament final that Jayden would forfeit being the younger sibling. But, there was an audible after the semifinals.
"The conversation before they walked on the mat was one of selflessness," said Joshua Brogden, the brothers' father.
"Each of them stood firmly on their position to take the forfeit."
Josh and Jayden discussed the scenario on the mat in a conversation they kept to themselves. Neither ever considered wrestling each other.
In the end, Josh made a decision to take the forfeit.
"Josh stated that it would be selfish to let Jayden take the forfeit and that he wasn't concerned about his name on a wall or a podium, but that it was 'family first,' that he'd been hard on Jayden his whole life, that he had earned it and was the sectionals champ," Joshua Brogden said.
Moeller coach Germane Lindsey said he was overcome with goosebumps when he learned Josh accepted the forfeit for his brother.
"I have never witnessed love from brothers of such in the sport," Lindsey said. "It was a special day for not only for my program but for the extended family. I can tell you the event is one of a kind, and I think everyone in the Tri-State is moved by the brotherly love."
Jayden rallied from a seven-point deficit in his second match of the day in the sectional semifinals to win 15-10. It was at that point Josh -- a standout student-athlete with a 4.03 grade-point average -- made his decision to forfeit to his brother in the final.
"The decision was Josh's, and he was determined to take the forfeit in light of his brother's performance," Joshua Brogden said.
Jayden, who is 12-3 this season, is the No. 1 seed at the district tournament starting Friday night at Kettering Fairmont.
Josh, who is 14-3 this season, and Jayden are on opposite sides of the bracket. But, it's possible they could meet again in the district final.
If the scenario happens, the family said Jayden would take the forfeit. The state tournament is March 13-14.
Besides trophies and wrestling accolades, the brotherly love and sportsmanship last weekend went beyond anything related to the mat.
"As parents, we (Joshua and Amber Brogden) aren't raising wrestlers; we are raising men, and their display of character made us very proud," Joshua said.